There have been rumors surrounding the top two picks since the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers were named as the top two teams in the NBA Draft. Karl-Anthony Towns is the top prospect to most scouts, but T-Wolves general manager and head coach Flip Saunders reportedly prefers Jahlil Okafor.
The Lakers would love to get Towns, and if Saunders truly wants Okafor, it may be beneficial to move down, something that may be a possibility according to ESPN’s Chad Ford:
I think Flip see’s Okafor as a major post up presence on offense — a major need of the Wolves. But you’re right. Towns has more strengths than Okafor, fewer weaknesses (if any) and I think he’s a better fit with Gourgi Dieng and Pekovic. No question Towns can play some four in the NBA and be a nightmare match-up […] But we’re still three weeks away. Lots of homework going on. I think the Wolves will eventually decide to take him 1, or perhaps swap with the Lakers and try to pick up another asset.
The Lakers could pair their 27th or 34th overall pick with the second overall pick to move up to the top spot. They could even throw in a player such as Nick Young if the Timberwolves wanted a player as well. It would make sense for the Timberwolves to pick up another asset if they truly are set on Okafor.
Mitch Kupchak says it’s unlikely the team would bring in three rookies so sacrificing one of their other picks to grab Towns would make a lot of sense. Whether the T-Wolves would really consider doing that remains to be seen, but it may be something worth looking out for.